On Christmas Eve I bought myself a Garmin Descent Mk2 and have been playing with it a little. The various apps you can load and the information it collects are impressive. GPS coordinates, entry and exit points for dives, boat tracks etc. as well as giving you a direct heading to your destination while boating is interesting. No spot is safe now – jump in the water and fire up the Apnea Hunt app and it logs your entry point and info on dives such as heart rate, depth, temp etc. throughout the session. It is an expensive piece of kit though!
Mokohinau Islands aka the Mokes
A couple of weeks ago Rob, Moss and I headed out to the Mokohinau Islands in Robs boat. The Mokes are about 30 NM out and are known for good fish life. We launched earliesh (although not as early as intended … thanks to yours truly) and were just under half way out when we spotted a big splash just to the west of us. The splash then appeared again and we saw a flash of white underside and large gills – it was a manta ray feeding on the surface. Manta rays are not hugely common in New Zealand waters and none of us had seen a manta in NZ before so we quickly geared up while keeping an eye on the ray from a distance. I jumped in and swam toward the ray which then proceeded to come to me and check me out – swimming with a manta ray has been on my bucket list for a while! Moss and Rob also jumped in and we took turns boating. The day on the water was starting well!
As we approached the Mokes we saw a couple of pods of dolphins too. Moss was first in the water and on his first dive stoned a kingfish while I was still gearing up so we dropped that into the chillibin. I couldn’t hit a barn door and managed to stuff up a reasonable snapper while Moss and Rob came back with some good fish.
Next was jumping in on one of the workups that were moving around. The workups were Trevally and Kahawai with some Koheru mixed in. Kingfish were hunting them from below and I saw a couple of small Kingfish pretending they were Kahawai and schooling in with the Trevs.
We dived a couple of other spots and I was still struggling to hit a barn door so I got my eye in on a Trevally then we dropped in at a spot Rob had sold as “almost guaranteed Kingfish”. He was not wrong … I had just got in the water, loaded my gun then turned on “Apnea Hunt” on the new watch when I saw a reasonable Kingfish below me so it was a quick duck dive and shot. Given my poor record of not being able to hit a barn door I was unsure of shot placement so when Rob swam back and asked if I wanted him to put a second shot into the fish I agreed.
Looking back at the info on the Garmin later I can see that I barely got to 4m on that dive – I have included a screenshot of some of the data: depth, time and heartrate. The very first dip in that graph was the Kngfish dive.
After a bit more time in the water we decided to head back. We hoped we might see the manta rays on the way back too so Moss stayed in his togs. We were not disappointed as we spotted another, bigger manta ray in roughly the same place as the ones spotted on the way out. Rob and Moss jumped in while I boated for them (I had spent more time with the manta in the morning). I had turned on the “Boat” app on the watch and set the destination as the boat ramp at Omaha so it tracked our journey, speed etc. It would be easy to use it to give you a direct course to a destination.
More sea life …
Not long after the others were back in the boat and dry Rob and I spotted a spout ahead … We had a Brydes Whale swimming across our path. Brydes whales are resident in the Hauraki Gulf but this was only the second time I had seen one – It was quite a day for large sea life (Rob and Moss also had Bronze Whalers check them out).
I have included a couple of screenshots of the boat track and you can see the top kink in the track where we saw the manta ray and a another deviation in the track where we saw the Brydes Whale (NZ has strict regulations about approaching marine mammals).
I’ve just realised that day was quite a Noob Spearo Podcast day. We ran into Blair Herbert at the ramp on the way in. Rob (NSP:091), Moss (NSP:060) and Blair (NSP:120 -122, 127) have all been guests on the podcast (links to each interview below;).
Good day Shrek! I’m a Noobie to the podcast from South Georgia, USA!! I have thoroughly enjoyed your channel since finding it several months ago! Brilliant, funny and very helpful content!! Keep up the good work!
I agree with Eric……getting left behind is the worst!!! (listen in to the lost at sea segment below)
It’s happened to me on my own boat! I was adrift with my buddy off of Cudjo Key in Florida last year for several hours!! It started out a beautiful day! No current and no wind and no clouds! However that changed in the afternoon. Wind, clouds and current seem to appear out of nowhere. Our boat driver quickly lost sight of us and due to the winds and seas picking up, could not see or hear us!! We were just off the reef which is about 3km from shore and quickly being pulled further out!! We started swimming to a light house structure on the reef with our guns, floats and fish! I knew we would not starve as mother ocean had provided for us that day, but nonetheless it was frightening wondering if we would be able to make it in the current to the lighthouse structure on the reef for safety.
This pic from Craig Seadog illustrates how easy it is to get separated from the boat
After swimming for about two hours and not making much progress, I finally saw a boat heading in our direction. I put the fish stringer on the end of my gun and waved it in the air as high as possible and fortunately they saw us and came to us. Once on board, I was able to call my boat which was about 7 miles from our original location. The day ended well but the pucker factor was real!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣.
I grew up on the water and looking back at that day I realize I made several mistakes.
Number one: I had gotten too comfortable and not prepared from a safety standpoint for getting separated from the boat.
Number two: In hindsight, I had a person on the boat that wasn’t experienced enough to pay attention to wind and current to know which way we would have drifted.
Since that day I have prepped for safety better. I found a company out of Canada that make a personal locator beacon. This is a great little device and you can wear it on your weight belt. There’s no monthly fees and you change the battery every couple of years! Now I keep four of these devices on my boat and every Diver gets one for the day. I’m not sure if this company has services in Africa but it is worth looking into if you could pass it along to Eric! I will be purchasing some of the inflatable floats like this one (aka Safety Sausage) or this Neptonics Safety Signal Inflatable Float you mentioned.
Neptonics Safety Sausage. Neptonics Inflatable Safety Signal Float
Thank you for all of the helpful information on your podcast! I’ve been scuba diving since I was 10 but I have only been free diving for two years, I’m 50 and I can’t believe I’ve been missing this stuff!!
Summary of club activity: contact the club through Facebook on the FREEDIVE ALBERTA group page or through email [email protected] Club is free to join, and events would include organized dive trips, group meetings, etc… ultimately looking to create a platform from which fellow free divers can connect and find dive buddy’s and training partners to expand the community in my local area!
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Waking up by natural light was awesome and i went to check my pollack frame trap I was pleased to find a crab big enough for the pot. make the call to move on to another good spot i know which would benefit more from the excellent conditions. I said i would only travel a few miles but much like Forest Gump when i get going i cant stop. I shoot passed my intended spot and head to a beach i know has Scallops. Upon making my way out to the Scallop grounds my gopro housing sprung a leak at depth and drowned. With a dead gopro and dwindling phone battery if anything were to go wrong i wouldnt be able to call for help. I make the call to end the trip on highs of 8 excellent days Hike and Spear despite the gopro situation.
A beautiful morning but it was time to pack up and get some miles underfoot. The weather continues to go in my favour the winds have dropped off and im set for some good diving. I stumble across a lovely little beach where i decide to make a disused boat shed as my camp for the night, i gear up and get wet. I collect a decent Spider crab and a lovely fat pollack. I cook the crab up in some boiled seawater and smashed it with a rock to get at the meat. Delicious. I was hoping for a bass as this spot and ground is usually good for some big boys. The pollack will be saved for the next day. I use the pollack frame once filleted as bait for some crabs and hopefully a lobster obver night.
The heat of the morning sun woke me in my tent, i chilled on the sand after breakfast debating when to get in the water, i had already decided after yesterday’s effort and a couple of blisters forming i would have a day rest to prevent them from getting out of control. Finally, i made the call jumped in the water and got my spear game on, despite not seeing much and spooking a giant bass. I made my way to some slightly different ground the vis was on my side but i came across a pollack which i bagged to secure some lunch, then i came across a flatfish i shot straight down on it, it bounced out i scrambled to reload the gun whilst keeping an eye on the fish, placing a second shot onto it before it coming off a second time. i decide to go after it with my hands. I secure the fish and celebrate for a good 5 mins that dinner would be on the cards. Dinner with a sunset.